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Cash on the barrel for Bordeaux generic producers

Published:  07 April, 2010

Six Bordeaux generic producers have won bonuses on the barrel for their 2009 vintage in the annual Gold Penny Farthing contest, announced negociant Yvon Mau.

"It will be a non-negligible bonus," admitted Gold Medal winner Bernard Cazade of Chateau Les Rambauds.

The gold, silver and bronze medal winners earn up to 60 percent over than the market price for their crus. The wine will supply Yvon Mau's Premius label.  Some of the wine may also be bottled as chateau wines.

Philippe Laqueche, managing director of Yvon Mau, admitted his 900,000 bottle brand wine did not have the UK shelf space he wanted.

"The UK market is difficult for Bordeaux brands - it's much better for chateaux wines," said Laqueche, noting that Bordeaux brands compete with Bordeaux chateau wines rather than brand wines from other countries. "Bordeaux is losing shelf space, not creating shelf space."

Laqueche hopes that he can engage his Bordeaux suppliers to build the brand together by rewarding quality.

Cazade and the Bronze Medal winners are all members of Yvon Mau's Producers Club, a group of 12 winegrowers that receive oversight in quality control and winemaking. All adhere to a Sustainable Development Charter and two members are also LEAF certified.

"We work to make a product that corresponds to consumer demand," said Cazade. He also said that the partnership gives small producers like himself financial stability and allowed him to continue to make the investments necessary for improving quality and meeting EU norms.

Bordeaux's generic producers have been particularly hard hit by the economic crisis, affecting the quality of the wine.

"The wines from the good terroirs are very nice, but the wines from the smaller estates have to be selected carefully," said Pierre Vieillefosse, purchasing director for Yvon Mau.

200 wines entered the competition, with an independent jury of professionals selecting the winners in a blind tasting held at Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte.

Gold Medal:

Chateau Les Rambauds AOC  Bordeaux

Silver Medal (tie):

Chateau La Raballe, AOC Bordeaux

Chateau Malbat, AOC Bordeaux Superieur

Bronze Medal (tie):

Chateau Boutillot, AOC Bordeaux

Château Coustaut Lagrangeotte, AOC Bordeaux

Chateau Haut-Grand-Champ, AOC Bordeaux - LEAF certified